NZ retail recovery evident in September 2020 quarter

by | Nov 23, 2020

New Zealand’s retail sales values recorded the largest September quarter rise since the series began in 1995, according to a recent Stats NZ report.

Spending on major household items, vehicles, and groceries contributed to a strong 7.4 per cent ($1.8 billion) rise in total retail sales compared with the September 2019 quarter, according to the report. While this quarter’s rise indicates a recovery for retail businesses, it does not make up for the historic fall of 15 per cent ($3.6 billion) in the COVID affected June 2020 quarter.


Retail Statistics Manager, Sue Chapman said a strong September quarter has contributed to the year-ended sales coming in just shy of last year’s value.

In total, fourteen out of 16 regions saw rises in retail sales values in the September 2020 quarter, compared with the September 2019 quarter, according to the report. The Auckland region had the largest dollar value increase this quarter, up 3.6 per cent ($315 million). Canterbury had the next largest increase in dollar terms, up 9.3 per cent ($281 million).

These increases were followed by Waikato, up 12 per cent ($266 million), Wellington, up 9.3 per cent ($213 million), and Bay of Plenty, up 11 per cent (168 million).

“While Auckland recorded the largest dollar value increase, in percentage terms the increase was lower than that for other main regions, partially due to a further lockdown period of levels three and two from 12 August,” Ms Chapman said.


Hardware, building, and garden supplies were also up 16 per cent ($352 million), while electrical and electronic goods retailing were up 25 percent ($233 million.

Increased activity in the building industry in recent months and New Zealanders’ undertaking home improvements, have seen higher sales for hardware and building suppliers and electrical and electronic retailers. See Building consents issued: September 2020 for more information about building consents.


“While the year-on-year spending is encouraging for most industries, the hospitality sector is still suffering the economic impacts of border restrictions and a further lockdown period imposed on the Auckland region for part of this quarter,” Ms Chapman said

After adjusting for price effects, the actual volume of total retail sales rose 8.3 per cent in the September 2020 quarter compared with the September 2019 quarter.